Shopping centres managed by Newsec are the first in the Baltics to be certified as meeting COVID-19 safety requirements
Newsec became the first property asset management company in the Baltic region with shopping centres granted international certification for compliance with COVID-19 safety requirements. SAFE Shopping Centers, the global certification and advisory company that conducted the certification process, presented the certificates to three shopping centres operating in Lithuania.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has strongly impacted the activities of major shopping and entertainment centres, especially due to the restrictions put in place in the Baltic countries during the quarantine. Hence the certification of shopping centres has become an important tool for regaining customers’ trust. This certification confirms that the shopping centres abide by all required preventive measures for ensuring the maximum possible safety of visitors, tenants and employees. In today’s context, such an assessment is an important step, since due to the pandemic foot traffic decreased notably at major and regional shopping centres in the Baltic countries,” says Rida Kalvaitienė, Head of Newsec Property Asset Management in the Baltics.
Both during and after a quarantine, the expert observes, many people, seeking to avoid crowded places and increased risk of infection, choose smaller grocery stores or shopping centres near their homes.
“After the decision that again made it mandatory to wear masks in public buildings in Lithuania, visitor traffic at the big shopping centres shrank again somewhat, so the SAFE Shopping Centers certification is even more meaningful. Still, it’s important to stress that shopping centres remain a public place not isolated from the virus, though the certification which was done guarantees that, if needed, the consequences of a situation will be eliminated must faster and more professionally,” notes Head of Newsec Property Asset Management in the Baltics.
Ensuring safety involves multiple factors
The SAFE Shopping Centers experts who conducted the certification assessed a total of six core areas for managing pandemic prevention: the preparedness of the shopping centre’s administration, risk assessment and compliance, measures to ensure the safety of visitors, safety measures taken by tenants, maintenance of hygiene and cleanliness, and the safety of the overall customer journey at the shopping centre. The certification process was successfully carried out at three shopping centres managed by Newsec in Lithuania: Kaunas Akropolis, Ozas in Vilnius, and BIG Vilnius.
According to the Newsec expert, it is important for real estate managers to ensure compliance with safety requirements and stable regulation of activities, and shopping centres operate successfully only when the property manager and the owner work together toward the same goals. It is important that both parties seek the best solution for attracting and retaining shoppers, and the SAFE Shopping Centers certification which was obtained demonstrates concern for the safety of customers.
“Newsec, as a professional asset manager, has more than 30 real estate properties in its portfolio in Lithuania alone. Our goal is to not just ensure smooth administration of the assets entrusted to us, but also to increase the managed property’s operational sustainability along with customer safety and satisfaction. That’s why we’re pleased that the smooth assessment processes and SAFE certifications for COVID-19 obtained at the shopping centres we manage show the successful collaboration of Newsec and the owners of the properties to ensure proper management of the risks that the coronavirus poses,” Rida Kalvaitienė states.